issue management in SAP projects

Welcome to the first post in our new SAP Project Management blog

The first topic will be “issue management in SAP projects” where we will start our blogging with a look at how to Effective Manage “Issues” during an SAP Project.

Why is Issue Management in SAP projects important?

No matter how well your project team is performing and you as an SAP Project Manager are managing your project, there will be issues happening that will need to be resolved.

How many issues, the kind of issues, and the severity of the issues you will be facing
you as an SAP Project Manager will be able to manage.  Well managed SAP project will have less issues and, less sever issues than projects that are poorly managed.  Issue Management is an important part of every SAP Project and it is expected that an successful SAP Certified Associate Project Manager knows the Issue Management process

So with Project Issues most certainly to occur on your project. let’s look at how to effectively and efficiently manage the issues resolution when issues occur.

How to design your Issue Management Process?

The Issue management process should be determined and communicated to all project team members at the very start of the project. A good  Issue management process motivates all project stakeholders to raise issues rather than keeping quiet, and have a welldefined process for evaluating and managing the raised  issues which is clearly understood by all stakeholders.

What is the issue log?

The Issue log, also referred to as the issue register is the tool that allows you to track, monitor and manage your issues in s structured way.

The Issue log can be a simple Excel file, which is most common, but can also be a automated tool, such as a developed intranet page such as Microsoft SharePoint or Access.

When establishing your Issue Log there are some key considerations that you should be to ensure is included:

What issues will the log be used for?

During the project, you will be facing different types of issues such as, Project Management issues, Testing issues, Technical issues, Organizational issues etc.  You should decide if these issues to be captured and managed in one central issues log or in multiple logs.

Who should access and update the log?

If multiple team members to be collaborating in maintaining the issues log you need to think in how to control user access and ensure integrity of the content, tom make sure data is not overwritten by different users and allow multiple people updating at the same time if your team is large.

How to track history of the updates in the log?

Issues resolution will in most cases require a series of events before the issue is resolved, and along the way the priority and severity of an issue might change. you need to ensure that your issue log will allow for an audit trail of these events

What reporting of issues are required?

To ease administration you should ensure that your reporting requirements on issues can be catered for easily by the structure of your issue log and the data maintained. Example the Management team will require an issue summary focusing on priority and resolution deadlines where the Development team will need to have all the details for only issues related to the development work.

Is there a dedicated Issue Management methods for handling Issues in SAP projects?

Yes. The are multiple Proven SAP Methodologies such as the  SAP ASAP Methodology and the SAP Activate Methodology, which provides all guidelines and templates for effective issue management in SAP projects.

Can the SAP Solution Manager help you manage Project issues?

SAP Solution Manager, also refer to as SOLMAN, is if you ask SAP a tool for managing the full SAP Application life-cycle from design, through implementation to support. Since this is a SAP provided tool this should be the ideal tool for providing issue management in SAP projects.

In relation to Issue Management, there is, however no functionality that is a perfect fit for providing an issue-log.  There are two functions in SOLMAN that can be configured to provide an Issue-log functionality, but neither of them is ideal.

The first option is to use the SOLMAN Service Desk function to create an issue-log based using the service desk ticketing system.  The pro of this is that you will have a workflow for managing the communication and escalation of issues to the various team members. The negative is that using the Service Desk functionality will likely require customization to allow for reporting of the issues, and also, there are limitations in what fields can be used and how it can be used.

The other SOLMAN functionality we have seen used for an issue-log is the Issue Management functionality. This functionality is designed to be used for recording , resolving and escalating SAP system issues to SAP. The positive is that it also have workflow capability and provide some reporting. The con is the field that can be customized is limited.

Neither of the SOLMAN options is in our view a good fit and most projects are better off using simple Excel in either a single accessible file or a multiple user file, or develop an issue-log in SharePoint or Access.

Finally there is also a third option and this is to have your ABAPer make a customized table in SOLMAN or your SAP Development system to serve as an issue-log.. This is an option that are often overlooked but is actually a very powerful solution as all your team members will have access to SAP so many of the multiple user challenges can easily be overcome.

Become an expert in the SAP ASAP Methodology here

Become an expert in the SAP Activate Methodology here

Hope you enjoyed this first blog and have a good understanding of the topic “Issue management in SAP projects”